Northwest Iowa — Farm fertilizer retailers in northwest Iowa and nationwide were spared expensive new OSHA regulations by Congressional action in the big budget bill that was passed last week. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the bill included a rider that blocked OSHA from implementing new safety rules on all retailers that sell anhydrous ammonia. Compliance could have cost some retailers up to 60-thousand dollars and forced many of them to stop selling the popular fertilizer.
The proposed rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were sparked by an explosion in 2013 at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in Texas that killed 15 people and injured more than 160.
Officials with the Ag Retailers Association called OSHA a “runaway federal agency” due to the new safety rules it wanted to enforce. Grassley says the regulations OSHA demanded were simply too restrictive and too expensive.
Under the legislation, the ban on OSHA requiring higher safety rules for anhydrous retailers lasts until the end of calendar year 2016.